Stefan Wille

Let Business People Get Their Statistics Themselves

January 13, 2010

I found that, once you have software in production, your business people ask for numbers, statistics and reports from your database, on a weekly or monthly basis. And this keeps interrupting your workflow. And it also keeps you from coding. So what to do?

Not so good: I tried to give business people a report generator, and have somebody prepare reports. Doesn't work well, because reports definitions break with DDL changes.

What works for me is to let business people query the database themselves. In the morning, the production database gets copied to a separate server. There, my colleagues access it using MySQL query browser via an SSH tunnel. We collect the SQL queries that they typically use in a Wiki, and they adapt the queries if they need small variations. Of course, this only works because my colleagues understand a bit of SQL.

Less interruptions, more joy.